Category Archives: Content

SXSW 2018: Serve Ads to the Circumstance, Not Just the Individual

Potbelly Smile ScaleAs marketers, one of the first and most important things that we can do for our business is to identify the audiences for our product or service. Our audiences (yes, that should always be plural) are typically defined by a combination of demographics and psychographics that help us fit a diverse selection of human beings into a few loosely constructed boxes. But with an unprecedented amount of data now available to businesses it’s time that we introduce context and circumstance into the equation.

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The Importance of Active Voice for Brands

When you reflect on the highway billboards of yesteryear and brand slogans that have made an impression on you, they were probably succinct, clever and written in the active voice. Clear, concise writing is absolutely crucial in a brand’s marketing efforts. When a message or campaign gets muddled with lengthy explanations and awkward sentence constructions, the small window of opportunity to quickly convey both meaning and value is lost. One of the simplest issues to address during content revisions is passive voice construction.

Woman Typing on a Laptop Using an Acive Voice For Brand Messaging

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A Case for Animation & Motion Graphics

A Case for Animation & Motion Graphics | CenterTable Digital AgencyAnimation and motion graphics provide an alternative method of storytelling that lights and cameras might not always be able to. Whether it’s quantitative data and graphs or bouncy shapes and vectors, animation offers limitless creativity to implement and communicate visual ideas. There are several key benefits to implementing motion graphics into your video marketing strategy.
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5 Videos You Might Have Missed This Year

Regardless of which side of the aisle you sat on, 2017 was pretty incredible. This year found itself embroiled in some of the most polarizing cultural, political and technological developments the world has ever seen. In a society increasingly connected in a web of social media outlets and platforms, we were collective witnesses to moments that defined humanity, and moments that divided it. Ad agencies, news outlets and production companies naturally responded to the ebb and flow of the cultural mainstream and its socio-political undercurrents by producing increasingly relevant, provocative and entertaining content.

As director of media production at CenterTable, I am always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in media and advertising. This year I compiled a list of 5 social videos produced in 2017 that stood out to me in technical prowess, innovation and boldness. This list includes everything from social media ads to TV commercials. Let’s dive right in (in no particular order).

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Lunch: The Answer to Your Content Collection Woes

Sandwiches

“It’s just lunch.”

It’s an online dating service as well as the answer to your content collection woes. Bear with me as I try to land this plane.

All content creators have been to the point with clients when you’ve felt as though you’ve hit a wall, either creatively or logistically. It happened to us working for our clients at SCL Health Medical Center, and believe it or not, it was the vastness of content possibilities and not a lack of them that jumpstarted our head scratching.

With dozens of medical practices from Aurora to Evergreen and specialities ranging from plastic surgery to cardiology to primary care — and all of them needing our assistance with digital marketing — our small team was both spoiled for choice and stretched thin when it came to content creation.

Enter the lunch brainstorm.
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360 Video: To Gimmick Or Not to Gimmick

360 Video: To Gimmick Or Not to Gimmick | CenterTable & GroundFloor MediaTechnology is a fickle beast that can really creep up on you. One minute you’re blissfully content that two-day deliveries exist, and next thing you know, there’s shoes that order pizza and hoverboards that don’t actually hover and function as boneless scooters (turns out keeping wheels on things is still one of the best ways to keep your face from eating concrete).

The advent of 360 cameras was one of those things that crept up on me. From 16 GoPro camera rigs to smartphone clip ons, companies are constantly innovating the way consumers are telling their stories. However, like the proverbial cynical caveman that I occasionally am, the discovery of fire has left me wondering about the best ways to use it.
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What Words and Phrases Can We Eliminate From Our Writing?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.57.36 AMHow can Twitter’s 140 character missives, and pithy Snapchat highlights get translated into our everyday writing as communicators?

Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.

Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?

Instead of: Use:
In order to To
Utilize Use
Very ugly, very fat, very angry Hideous, obese, furious
In the event that If
On account of the fact that

Because of the fact that

Due to the fact that

Because
In spite of the fact that Although, though, despite
In the absence of Without
In the event that If
A large proportion of Many
In a situation in which When
There is a need for Must
Subsequent to After
Impact on Affect
Along the lines of Like
At the present time Now, currently

 

 

Will Corporate Directives Undermine Fox31’s Credibility?

SinclairLast week, I wrote about the increased levels of credibility that local media have compared to national media. Readers and viewers trust local media more because they perceive them to be less biased and to have fewer agendas.

One Denver television station that seems poised to test that theory, however, is Fox31. The Tribune-owned station has been on a ratings tear over the past year, but it is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative-leaning ownership group that is one of the largest broadcast companies in the country.

One of Sinclair’s signature components is its “must run” segments – short video segments that are centrally produced by the company that all stations are required to broadcast. Local news directors and producers do not have the ability to determine whether they should appear.

As The New York Times reported:

“Critics … cite Sinclair’s willingness to use its stations to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda. That practice has stirred wariness among some of its journalists concerned about intrusive direction from headquarters.”

The Sinclair approach threatens the credibility and trust that Fox31 has built up over the past decade. And the fallout has already begun. Fox31 news director Holly Gauntt, who drove the station to No. 2 in the ratings locally in just one year, has just left the station to take the same job at 7News.

Now the question is whether local viewers will also abandon the station if they feel they can’t trust its credibility.

Content is All Around You (Even if You Think It’s Boring)

Some behind-the-scenes content, combined with "staff pics" from our clients at Elite Brands.

Some behind-the-scenes content, combined with “staff picks” from our clients at Elite Brands.

We’ve had a couple of strategy sessions with our clients recently and a recurring theme has come up: Sometimes what you consider “boring” might actually be extremely engaging content.

Anyone who works in a warehouse, production facility or “in-the-field” probably doesn’t see a whole lot of intrigue from said workspace. But time and time again, we’ve seen audiences be completely captivated and engaged with behind-the-scenes content of how things are made, how machinery works, or what people do in their daily work routine.

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Sources for Social Media Ideas

Social Media Ideas ResearchWhere do you get your social media ideas? When you hear the words “brainstorming” or “creativity,” you may not immediately associate them with science and research, but I do. When I see a calendar invitation to a brainstorming session, I make a note to make time for some research. I’m not talking about what competitors are up to, though that too is important. I’m talking about finding a LexisNexis log in and doing some digging to see what the scientific community says about the topic. You’d be surprised what exists out there to inspire your work.

Most recently, I did some work with a child abuse prevention nonprofit and stumbled across the amazing Frameworks research that studied how people in various demographics responded to different message framing related to child abuse prevention. This research is widely used amongst nonprofits working on this topic. It has great insights like “because so many frames have the effect of lifting support for child abuse and neglect policies, child welfare advocates on this issue have the opportunity to create some synergy across child development issues by using frames that also elevate other areas of child development.”  To translate, there are many ways of talking about child abuse that can be effective, but a few strategic ones will also help everyone else working on the topic. In coming up with ideas for this April, which is child abuse prevention month, we kept that research in mind.

The child abuse example is just one of many. If the topic relevant to you doesn’t have extensive existing research there can be more broad ways to investigate, such as looking for research related to online giving and social pressure for nonprofits. Or even understanding theories related to how people choose what to buy. This study tested whether people offered a coupon for jelly bought more when they could choose between 26 flavors or 6 flavors. More people were attracted to the big display, but more people actually bought jelly when there were fewer choices.

If you want to propel your agenda, build a movement, and change the narrative, you’re going to need some powerful social media ideas for content. Why not start with a Google search to leverage psychology, cognitive science, and the latest social science research to help lead you to success?